It's been almost two months since we launched the new look OnBoard at London Docklands and our brains haven't stopped whirring since!
As we mentioned then, we are developing activity cards instructors can use as a springboard for ideas and session plans that have the six character attributes we believe sailing develops embedded within them. If you missed it, this article - Why sailing builds character - explains it all!
But while we continue to get these resources ready, we thought it would be helpful to give you an idea of what sorts of things are going to be included and also what you could be starting to think about and do yourself. So let's start with confidence...
If you click on the image below, renowned educationalist Prof. Bill Lucas, who we are working with on OnBoard character development, it will helpfully explain what we mean by confidence through our new Instagram account.
Now think about how you first teach a youngster to sail across the wind. What could you incorporate into that session to develop and maintain confidence? Here's some top tips!
1. Have a theme for the day, such as 'thinking on your feet' - ask questions, pose challenges and ask them how it feels to think on their feet. They will get used to thinking on their feet, offering ideas and listening to other peoples’ ideas as they go through OB. Positively reinforcing this will breed confidence in doing it.
2. Keep reiterating that mistakes are okay - we learn best from the mistakes we make. They won’t be trying to make mistakes, but if they do they’ll learn from the experience for next time.
3. Reframe situations where sailors are struggling - help them feel that what they are doing is a work in progress, not an endgame, and any setbacks are temporary hurdles to be practised or perhaps be negotiated in a different way.
4. The power of 'yet' - help students feel they have control over next time. Ask what went well, what mistakes they made and one thing they want to improve next time. By accepting that perfection is not the goal, confidence is protected and they have something tangible to look forward to improving.
5. Empower the group - let them overhear you saying something positive about them to another instructor or to their teachers or parents. Subtle but powerful!
6. Master the soft touch approach - resist the temptation to ‘improve’ on a sailor’s skill. Their own reflection on how they are doing will make for the best learning as they begin to recognise mistakes and how they can apply what they have learned to put things right.
7. Focus on effort, not results – give positive feedback about specific things they can control, like hard work or perseverance. This will help keep them trying and practicing and for them to learn when they work hard they can accomplish their goals, giving them confidence to approach the next thing with the same mindset.
8. They are their own best motivators - teach and promote self-encouragement by saying things like “Practising the tricky stuff means making progress” and “If you don’t succeed at first, try, try again!” Get them believing this and they will say the same things to themselves.
9. Confidence means having a go - make sure the efforts of the quieter ones in the group don't go unnoticed. Trying something new, knowing they will probably get it a bit wrong at some point and might look a bit silly, but doing it anyway is a real sign of confidence for learning.
10. Keep it fun - if they are enjoying it with their friends, they are more likely to feel relaxed. If they are more relaxed, they are more likely to give something a go, so setting the right tone for each group is important.